The Catholic Blog

Weighing Life

Posted on 8/2/2015 by Stacy Mal

Weighing the value of all life in the wake of recent news headlines. The differences between Cecil the Lion and aborted babies.

Yesterday, Fr. Michael Polinek posted an article by Dale Ahlquist on Facebook.  It got me thinking, which got me writing. You can read the full article, titled "The Lion Sleeps Tonight,"  here in Crisis Magazine. It was a fantastic piece (the topic already laying very heavily on my heart), where he questions the outrage following the death of Cecil the lion.  

And before anyone says that I'm an animal hater for posting this, let me be very clear: I am not. Neither is Dale Ahlquist. Niether is Fr. Mike. In fact, this is not even really about Cecil, or animals. It's about imbalance. It's about proportional worship. It's about humans. Most of you, I realize, have stopped reading already, and dubbed me the animal hater I said I wasn't. But I'll continue writing anyway, for the remaining few that care to hear me out.

I've been watching the outrage over Cecil's killing flood my newsfeed for days. Each post generating countless likes and comments. And yet, there are hardly any posts relaying outrage over the recent news of Planned Parenthood killing babies and their selling body parts. The few posts that do come up, go practically unnoticed on the feeds. My post on Planned Parenthood last week, for example, received six likes. Just six. I was tempted to keep the exact verbiage and repost it, this time about the lion, not babies... Wondering how much attention it would have gotten then. But I already know the answer. I just don't understand it.

Well, I guess I do understand it, to some degree. The lion's death was a shame, to say the least. There were several unfortunate aspects to the killing that have caused the outrage. I'll go through the top five here:

One, Cecil was a protected lion, fitted with a GPS collar and tracked by the Oxford University research program. And they say he was lured out of this protected habitat. The only thing that would have been worse, is if Cecil was forced or dragged from his protected habitat. Or if the hunter invaded the protected habitat with weapons, and killed him there in it... As is the actual case with abortion. When medical personnel invade the protective habitat of the womb, with weapons, and kill the baby there in it.

Two, Walter Palmer, the hunter who shot Cecil, shot him with an arrow but failed to kill him initially. Then he and his guide tracked Cecil, finding him hours later and shooting him. It's tragic, yes, but still more humane than a failed abortion, where infants are left on tables or scales to die alone. Or where born-alive babies are drowned in jars of toxic solution. Or worse still yet, where abortion survivors are killed by cutting their spinal cords, forcing instruments into the soft spots of their heads, or even twisting their heads off their necks.

Three, Cecil was skinned and beheaded. A common hunting practice, this was done after Cecil's death. It was not the cause of his death, as is often the case with abortion... when saline solution burns the baby's skin away, or forceps crush the baby's skull, causing it to explode and tear from the body.  

Four, the details of the lion’s death have outraged nature enthusiasts  who are disturbed by wealthy big-game hunters who pay tens of thousands of dollars to kill protected animals for trophies and sport. What about wealthy big-businesses who pay millions of dollars a year for what should be protected baby body parts?

Instead of having to pay very expensive fees to dispose of aborted babies’ bodies, Planned Parenthood actually gets paid for the body parts. Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Dr. Savita Ginde, admitted that payment per organ is the most beneficial to Planned Parenthood: “I think a per-item thing works a little better," she said to an undercover agent, "just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”

Planned Parenthood executives have stated the going rate for these body parts is anywhere from $30 to $100, and they estimate that 60-70% of their patients agree to have their babies' body parts harvested. Given this number, and the number of abortions they perform annually, Planned Parenthood is likely making around $22,935,710 each year on aborted baby body parts. This, of course, is in addition to the half a billion dollars they receive from us taxpayers each year.

Five, conservationists say the saddest part about Cecil's death is that, now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all of Cecil's cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females. And African lion populations have already fallen almost 60% over the past three decades. Yes, it is unfortunate that Cecil's family tree is now threatened, while the lion population is dwindling. Yes, I get that.

But where - WHERE - is the outrage when a human person, destined to be the father or mother of its own, great family tree, is cut down in an instant with a medical scalpel? Where is the outrage when a future doctor, future president, future pope, future citizen (destined to do some form of good in our world), is plucked from American history with forceps? And then disgraced to such a degree that their very body is dismembered and sold illegally on the black market? At least Palmer planned to memorialize Cecil through a taxidermist.

And don't get me wrong.  I understand the outrage about Cecil.  What I don't understand is the lack of outrage against Planned Parenthood, or abortion in general.

There are comments on social media sites demanding justice for Cecil, saying the hunter should be banned from practicing. (He's a dentist.) Palmer is actually a wanted man. But who dares to demand the same justice for aborted children?  Who dares to stand up and say that Planned Parenthood should be banned from practicing?

Given President Obama's recent promise to veto any bill to defund Planned Parenthood... not many. Planned Parenthood is a wealthy giant with supporters at the very top. The President of Planned Parenthood, for example, has visited the white house 39 times since President Obama took office. On the flip side, the Obama administration says they will join in helping investigate his death. The Hill reports that the administration is “ready to take action” and offer support to the Zimbabwean government.

I like to think, then, that the lack of outrage against Planned Parenthood isn't really a lack of outrage at all, but a lack of courage in standing up to such a monstrosity. I like to think that secretly people ARE outraged at Planned Parenthood, they just don't have bravery to say anything. Maybe they secretly do want to post about it on social media, maybe they do want to click "like", but they just don't have the guts.

Because if it's not a lack of courage, then it's a whole different ballgame.

If it's not a lack of courage, then people really aren't outraged. If they really aren't outraged at the killing of babies and the selling of their body parts, then they in some way support it. And if they support this kind of evil, then we have a far bigger problem on our hands than a bill getting passed or a corporation getting defunded.

We have a society that no longer respects its own human dignity, a society that is okay selling itself to the devil for $22,935,710 a year, a society that devalues itself to such a degree that it places itself below the animal kingdom.

Oh, my friends, if it is not a lack of courage, then the human family is in very grave danger. If it is a lion king that we cry for in the wake of recent news headlines (and not our own kind), then who will we give the throne to next? What creature, thing or ideal will we place above our own innate worth?

I have seen the posts by those demanding respect for Cecil, and all animals alike. Posts saying, "all life has value" that "no life is more valued than another". I agree that all life has value. I do. Absolutely. 100%. I agree that animal life is to be valued and respected and cherished. Yes, absolutely. But one life certainly does have more value than another. The human life.

Friends, we are human beings, created in the image and likeness of God Almighty. We have been given an eternal soul destined to live forever with our God.  We have been given the gift of reason and free will, so that we can freely choose God and work out our salvation. No other creature has been given this gift.

In the beginning, God the Father gave Adam the command to take dominion over the earth, and all things in it, including animals. He placed us above them when He created all life.  Jesus Christ then came into the world as a man. He put on human flesh, thereby elevating the human race above all other creatures. And He died to save man. The blood of God spilled upon the earth for human beings. The Holy Spirit came then on Pentecost to dwell in the hearts of people. Not animals.

God has invested Himself personally in the human family. He became part of it, and even died for it. We human beings then have an innate worth that far surpasses all other creatures on the planet. In fact, this planet and everything in it (animals included), was given to us as a gift, to make us happy in this life. No, that does not give us the right to abuse the gift. We are to love and respect animals, the environment, all life... just as God loves and respects it.

But on the great scale of life, the animal kingdom does not outweigh humanity. On the great scale, selling baby body parts should anger us far more than the killing of a lion.

Perhaps this is the reason there is so much violence and unrest and division in the world today. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is because we don't know who we are anymore. It's no wonder there's so much disorder everywhere we turn. We are disordered.

We see each other as black, white, old, young, Christian, non-Christian, gay, straight. But we don't see our sameness. We don't see our worth.  We don't  see each other as precious. We no longer value human life. And yet, we are children of God. Loved and cared for by our Almighty Father. We are cherished and treasured, beyond our wildest imaginations.

Yes, it is sad about Cecil the lion king and the dwindling animal kingdom. But I beg you: please don't forget about your own crown as an heir in the Kingdom of God. Please, please don't forget that each of these babies being aborted and dismembered and sold on the black market is your sister and your brother in the human family.

Please, try to look at this through God's eyes. He fashions a soul (His very own child) with so many gifts and talents and worth, and entrusts that soul to the world, precisely at the time the world needs it most. He sees all the good the soul is to do, all the love it is to give and share. He awaits the day it is to be born with excitement and joy. And we slaughter it. We cut it up. We sell it for money. Dirty, evil money.

I would like to think that we as a nation have enough decency to see that this is wrong, enough courage to stand up against it, and enough morality to resume our rightful place as heirs in the Kingdom of God. But only time will tell.

Friends, I still believe in the human race. It is for this reason that I write this and risk being unfriended and hated. Because I believe deep down that we know who we are. Deep down, we know we are greater, more beautiful, more majestic, more beloved than even the lion king. Deep down, we know we are temples of God, the King of all Kings. We know we are loved ... we just need reminded.

We just need to take a look inside and rediscover this beautiful truth. The truth of ourselves. It's the one truth that can literally solve all of the world's problems—from animal cruelty, to drug addiction, to gang violence, to human trafficking, to famine and war. ALL of the world's problems. It's not far from our reach. The answer is right here inside ourselves, in our own beautiful worth. 

Today, may you know the love of God as His precious, beloved child... and may you share this love with everyone you meet.

God bless.